Sunday, July 23, 2006

Recent reads - take 3

Okay, so the first time I tried to write this post I gave up... but then, I decided to start over, because the whole point of starting this blog was to share the books I read with the others and so far, I didn't really do it... so I started writing it up and then, lost electricity ^^; so hopefully, this time, it'll go up.

So, yes, I want to talk a bit about the books I've read lately, but I don't know in which format. I'm not the best writer nor am I the most coherent either... so yeah, I'm not the best reviewer and there's so many good reviewers in the romance blog land that I don't know if I can measure up (okay, I know it's not a contest, but...) I don't know if I should add the book blurb or not or whether I should write up a synopsis or just give my opinions... and talking about opinions, I don't express myself real well either, so... maybe I should just answer some questions. One review style I really like is Sandie's... so perhaps I'll try something similar to her...

But let's put everything aside and onto the recent reads now :D

Suzanne Brockmann is an author I'm not sure whether I like or not. I've read very few books of hers and so far, I've never been compelled to buy her backlist... Sure, I was a bit curious about some of her books and characters, because all her books are part of a series, but each time I thought of buying one of her book, I could stop myself. Even after reading 3 books this week-end, I'm still unsure...

The Unsung Hero : 3.5/5

This was a good book; however, there were too many sub-plots. I mean, if an author can squeeze 3 storylines in one book, then to me, it means that she didn't have enough material and had to scramble to come up with a full novel.

Tom and Kelly: They are the main characters and they're okay. It was nice that for once, the guy realized that he was in love with her first. What annoyed me was that Kelly was in love with Tom, but she didn't want to... she's afraid of marriage... but why?!? Personally, if it has been only their storyline, I would have bumped the grade down to 2.

Joe and Charles: Joe is Tom's great-uncle and Charles is Kelly's father and these two men have been best friends for almost 60 years... since WWII. I luv grumpy old men :P In novels, I've always loved how grumpy old men could soften to become reluctant sweet grandpa... not that it happens in this book, but still. Anyway, back to the book: both men were part of the 55th regiment and soon, it will be their regiment reunion (55 yrs. after WWII) and Joe will be celebrated as the Hero of Baldwin's Bridge town; however, he doesn't want to. Then, Joe is asked to be interviewed by a writer who wants to write the story of the 55th regiment. This create tension between the two best friends as Joe has agreed but Charles doesn't want him to talk. Basically, the story of this sub-plot is what really happened during WWII and who is the real Hero of Baldwin's Bridge.

Mallory and David: Mallory is Tom's niece and she's 18 years old. David, 20, is an artist who's working for the summer in Baldwin's Bridge and looking for a model for his new graphic novel's character. Mallory is somewhat of a rebel, but at the same time, she's sweet. She refuses to go to college because 1) her mom doesn't have enough money and 2) what will happen to her mom once she leaves? Then, she meets David who she considers a geek, but a nice geek. Anyway, story short, both fall in love with each other and it's so sweet! Both characters are sweet, but the most important is that they discovered what was inside :)

The Defiant Hero: 2/5

Basically, this book is not a keeper. I still haven't finished it, but I know... Anyway, here's the blurb:
The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists." Meg Moore remembered the warning from her job as a translator in a European embassy.

Those same words will spell out a death sentence for her daughter and grandmother who have been kidnapped by a lethal group called the Extremists. Meg will do anything to meet their unspeakable demands; anything—even kill—to save her child.

When Navy SEAL Lieutenant, junior grade, John Nilsson is summoned to Washington, D.C., by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation, the last person he expects to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg. He hasn''t seen her in years, but he''s never forgotten how it feels to hold her in his arms. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. She will lose her life if he doesn't...
The whole story is confusing to me and I'm not sure what to think of Meg. She kinds of double-cross John, but still, he stands by her side and is ready to sacrifice his military career for her. Quite noble... which is why Meg annoys me. Just accepts his help! Don't try to do it on your own, because seriously, what's your chance of succeeding? She involved him by asking him to be the negociator, then she throws him away again and again. Just doesn't make sense to me.

I have to say that I like the grandmother, Eve, plotline tho.... While Eve is being held as hostage with Amy, Meg's daughter, she re-tells the story of how she fell in love with her husband, Ralph, to little Amy. That's story is quite sweet.

Then, what annoys me in this book is Sam and Alyssa's relationship - is this your book? No... so how come you have more sex than the main characters? and how come all you do is have sex instead of doing something a bit more constructive? So yeah, Suzanne Brockmann tries to set up her next book, but they take too much place. They steal the screen time of the main characters and worse, their story is not settle yet.

Gone Too Far: 2/5

This is Alyssa and Sam's story which I understand, fans have been waiting for a long time. They first appeared in The Unsung Hero and some other books afterwards as well. I didn't read the books between The Defiant Hero and Gone Too Far, so I'm missing some parts of their story and that is something I don't like. I don't usually care reading random books in series, because I know that I'm only missing some bits of their story such as how they were introduced. However, in this case, I'm missing big gaps and I think it's something that the author shouldn't have done.

Personally, I wasn't that interested in Sam and Alyssa once I started reading the book, altho I've been quite curious about them since I read Hot Target a few months ago. So this was a major disappointment. Even the presence of Tom and Kelly from The Unsung Hero couldn't help me like the book... and the last storyline - Max and Gina - didn't make sense to me, cos once again, I was missing too many gaps from other books.

In a few words, Suzanne Brockmann's books are definitively not stand-alone books. You really need to read them all... and in my opinion, the intrigue kind of takes the backseats... and the characters are a bit unreasonable to my taste.

Charming the Prince: 2.5/5

Quite frankly, I didn't like the book. I think it's the main idea of the book that I dislike. Lord Bannor comes back from France after the war and must now take care of his 12 children - yes, 12. He can't... he can't bear them, they're too much for him. So he asks his steward to find a wife that will be a mother to his children.

Appears Willow - who's been taking care of her 6 half-siblings + i don't know how many step-siblings. She sees Lord Bannor proposal as an escape route, tired of taking care of her siblings that her step-mom keep popping out... however, becoming Lord Bannor's wife is not much better.

Then, you have Lord Bannor that finds his wife beautiful, but he doesn't want to bed her, because he doesn't want more children (his family line is very potent). At first, Willow is hurt by Lord Bannor seemingly indifference, then she understands. So she goes to the village's whore to seek for advices... urgh.

At first, I really pitited Willow. I mean, she was like Cinderella, except that her father wasn't dead: she was treated poorly by everyone, she had to do everything, etc. Then, when she finally escapes her faith, she ends up as Lord Bannor's bride with tons of children to take care of. Hello, Lord Bannor, wouldn't it have been easier to hire a few more nurse to take care of them. Having a talk with your children instead of ignoring them would have help also. Then, Willow seeking the village whore(Netta) was a bit extreme ^^; Wasn't there any older lady, someone who could have given her advice? Was Netta the last woman on Earth?

Other things I didn't like in the book was: Lord Bannor's son romance. Desmond is 12 years old and he's falling in love with Beatrice, 14, who is Willow's step-sister. Isn't that a tad to precocious? At least, make both 16, 17... that's a bit bearable. I like to see two young people fall in love, but this was really too young for me. Then, Stefan, another of Willow's step-sibling, this time, closer to her age, leecherous attitude. I mean, Stefan has been demeaning Willow ever since his mom married Willow's father, ever since he stepped into the castle. I guess, as they grew, Stefan has been lusting after Willow and looking for a way to take advantage of her. But then, sending his little sister Beatrice to seduce Lord Bannor so the man wouldn't marry Willow and that Stefan would get her was a bit ridiculous. Add to that the kidnapping scheme... really...

So didn't like the book... and the 2.5/5 is because they were some funny moments that made me laugh. Teresa Medeiros thus join Suzanne Brockmann in the category - do I like this author or not? So far, I've read After Midnight - her regency/vampire series - which didn't entice me at all and Yours Until Dawn which was quite good. So I guess I'm going to have to read more books to have a good opinion.


  1. Sandie's review style is actually the questions from the TBR challenge, modified. So you could do the same and not even feel guilty, because they were created for public use :) You have my blessing, lolol.

  2. Oh, and I meant to say that you shouldn't worry about how you do your reviews, just that you give an honest opinion. I think that's what most people are looking for. We can get synopsis and blurbs anywhere. It's how you felt about the book that's important to other readers.

  3. thanx Angie :D I'll see how it comes to me :D Depending also on the amount of books I read and the amount of free time I have :D but thanx for the blessing and I actually luv your TBR challenge. :D

  4. hey, just found your blog so I wanted to say hi! love the cute lil dumpling hehehe.

    about books, lately there seems to be an epidemic of sorts because most people seem to be in a reading slump. it must be the weather, or the time of year. I hope it passes soon because I am dying to read a good book again. lol (^_^)

  5. Hello Mailyn... I luv your blog design... I've been lurking around for the past 2 weeks on several blogs, but it's hard for a newbie to keep up with all the blogs and names (esp. when some blog designs are changing)....

    I know, it seems like lots of ppl are in a reading slump... and I think it's due to all the reasons you've stated: time of the year, weather... for me, it's also because I've been so tired after a day at the lab... *sigh*

    You like my dumpling? I'm glad :D My friend kind of assign everyone a little character and I got the dumpling :D

  6. Hi again!! I've been busy the last couple of weeks, so I missed all your posts. :(
    That's too bad you're not a big Brockmann fan - I enjoy her work. The different stories in one book appeals to me (they're different than short stories, which I don't like). And I love the men. LOL
    I haven't read TM yet, but I have a feeling I'm going to feel the same way as you do about her.

    And I felt the same way you did about reviewing books. You'll get over it and find your own style. I know I'm not too consistent.

  7. Ames - don't worry about missing some of my posts... the good thing is that i've just started, so there's not many to catch up with :D

    I've bought another novel of Suzanne Brockman (Muldoon story) at the used bookstore... I liked some of her story, so I haven't given up yet... let see after that one.

  8. Yeah, I totally agree that SB's Troubleshooters series are most definitely not stand alone material but I really enjoy her series, it's probably one of my favorites, I jsut finished rereading GTF and I loved it this time around as well, I've been in love with Sam Starrett since TUH and only grew to love him more and more with every should read the books again in order so you can get the full impact of the books...I really love it!

    But I think you did a great job with your reviews, they're easy to follow and very honest, good for you...